Perimenopause, the warm-up act before the big show - menopause! It's the time when your body starts preparing for the grand finale of your reproductive years.

Perimenopause is that transitional phase, usually starting in your 40s, where your ovaries are gradually saying, "You know what, we're gonna take a little break." Your hormone levels, especially estrogen, can go a bit haywire. This hormonal rollercoaster can bring on all sorts of quirky symptoms like irregular periods, hot flashes, mood swings, and weight gain.

Think of it as your body's way of announcing, "Hey, I'm getting ready to retire from baby-making!" Eventually, it leads you to menopause, where your periods have completely bid adieu for at least a year.

Perimenopause can be quite a journey, and it's different for everyone. Some folks breeze through it, while others might find it very challenging. But don't worry, you're not alone, and there are plenty of ways to manage those perimenopausal surprises.

Weight Gain in Perimenopause: Just One Sec.....

Before we get into it, we'd like to take a pause here.

As women we've been subject to a relentless barrage of messaging our whole lives that we have to look a certain way and we have to be a certain weight to be of any value. UGH!  Super damaging for so many.

As we move through mid-life, it presents us with an opportunity to surrender to the inevitable changes that come our way and some of those are really hard.

We know too well how weight gain during perimenopause causes so many women so much distress (and there's no wonder given said relentless barrage mentioned earlier).  

Whilst we have some solid lifestyle tips below, we'd also invite you to look at your body a little differently than simply what the scales are telling you.

  1. What does your body allow you to do now and what has it done for you in the past? Walk, run, dance, have/feed babies (we know not every woman has experienced this 💓), healed you and all kinds of incredible physical feats really.  When you look at everything, your body has done so much - wow!

    Gratitude usually follows when you look at your body in that way.

  2. How do you feel in your body when you take the scales out of the equation? Notice how you feel when you hop off the scales. Do they put you in a bad mood for the rest of the day? Do you feel shame and despair?  That contraption doesn't get to do that to you!!  It's not the boss of you. Maybe consider chucking them out and instead focus on your life force. How does your life force feel today? Experiment and see if you feel differently about yourself.

  3. Move into physical sensation and away from worry about how you look.  It takes time (patience and lots of self-compassion is key here) but oh-so liberating! How do different materials feel on your skin? How do different foods make you feel? How do certain movements make your body feel?

Of course our bodies need our support through these years but we can take a different view: rather than trying to lose weight through calorie restriction and the like (which rarely works especially during perimenopause) perhaps we can instead focus on doing what we need to do to feel fit, healthy, clear-minded and strong to live the lives we want to live for as long as possible.

How will you do that? It starts with the mind: a healthy dose of self-parenting - doing what you know you need to do even when you just don't feel like it.

We're talking here about making good choices (now's a really important time to do that): good whole food nutrition, time outside moving, prioritising sleep, adequate hydration and avoiding or getting rid of things that make you feel horrible both physically and mentally.

We're too old for that shizzle!

And trust us, your body and mind will thank you in the years to come for taking care of you now. x

Okay, so now we'll hop off our soap box and get into the things you can do to support your beautiful and unique body through perimenopause.


Yes, weight gain is common during perimenopause. Let's take a look at why:

  • 1. Hormone Havoc: Perimenopause is all about your hormones going a little bonkers. The levels of estrogen and progesterone start to fluctuate, and these hormonal changes can mess with your metabolism. When your metabolism slows down, it becomes easier to gain weight, especially around the belly.

  • 2. Muscle Matters: As you get older, you naturally lose some of that precious muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories at rest than fat, so when you lose muscle, your metabolism can take a hit (and why you need extra protein).

  • 3. Stress and Sleep:  Us peri sisters often find ourselves in a stress sandwich with sleep issues on the side. Stress can trigger emotional eating, and poor sleep can mess with your hunger and fullness cues. It's a recipe for weight gain. Take these to reduce cravings.

  • 4. Lifestyle Shifts: Your lifestyle might change during this phase. Maybe you're less active, or your sleep's been shot to bits so you're more prone to comfort foods. These shifts can add up to extra kgs over time but be kind to youreslf. Start making good choices from now.

With awareness and some lifestyle adjustments, you can absolutely manage this weight gain. Remember, it's a natural part of the journey, and you've got the tools to navigate it. 

Things you can do to Combat Weight Gain in Perimenopause

Things you can do to maintain a healthy weight and keep those extra kg’s at bay:

  • 1. Whole food Diet: Focus on a whole food diet with lots of fresh veggies, fruit, quality protein, good fats and complex carbohydrates. Ditch the ultra processed foods and be mindful of portion sizes. Eat when you are hungry.

  • 2. Daily Movement: Regular movement is your bestie here, find something you love doing. Aim for a mix of cardio, strength training, and flexibility exercises. It can help boost your metabolism and maintain muscle mass, which can decline during perimenopause.

  • 3. Hydration: Don't forget to drink water! Sometimes your body confuses thirst for hunger, so staying hydrated can help you avoid unnecessary snacking.

  • 4. Stress Management: Perimenopause can bring stress along for the ride, and stress can contribute to weight gain. Try stress-reduction techniques like yoga, meditation, or even just a good laugh with friends.

  • 5. Sleep Well: Poor sleep can mess with your hormones and appetite regulation. Prioritise good sleep habits to help your body maintain a healthy weight.

    Peri Chai Latte and Peri Hot Choccy can help improve sleep.

  • 6. Hormone Therapy: For some women, hormone therapy can be an option to manage perimenopausal symptoms, including weight gain. Consult your doctor to see if it's a suitable choice for you.

  • 7. Mindful Eating: Pay attention to what and when you eat. Mindful eating can help you avoid overeating and make healthier food choices.

  • 8. Increase Protein - to increase muscle mass and to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Our need for protein goes up as we hit peri, eat 1.2g of protein per kg of body weight daily. Find out more about perimenopausal protein requirements here
Supercharge your body AND brain through perimenopause! With our Perimenopausal protein powders.
  • 9. Eat Healthy Fats - (Oily fish, nuts and seeds, olive oil) - they keep you fuller for longer and they improve cellular functioning and cell-to-cell communication

  • 10. Improve Gut Health - drops in oestrogen can cause bad bacteria growth in the microbiome and this can also lead to “leaky gut” and gut inflammation which causes digestive issues and weight gain. Some great tips here to get your gut and biome tip-top to support your body through peri.

  • 11. Insulin Resistance - if you have it, now's the time to reverse it. A great approach is a keto or low carb diet to get you started (though I would not recommend these as a long term strategy). Let’s dive into Insulin resistance below…

Insulin Resistance and Perimenopause

Insulin resistance is a big topic in perimenopausal health, it can develop because of weight gain around our middles and when testosterone and androgen hormones are more dominant than oestrogen and progesterone.

As oestrogen and progesterone have anti-inflammatory and metabolism stimulating properties. Being perimenopausal and menopausal can put you at risk of insulin resistance.

When we eat, our digestive system breaks down our foods into glucose, amino acids and fatty acids. Insulin is the hormone that promotes the absorption of glucose (our main energy source) from the blood into the liver, fat and skeletal muscle cells to make us function.

When there is insulin resistance there is a build-up of blood glucose and the cells of our bodies don’t get the energy they need. Our brain then signals that we are still hungry, which can lead to weight gain.

The good news is that insulin resistance is reversible through diet and exercise.

🚩Untreated insulin resistance can lead to Type 2 Diabetes

🚩Insulin resistance can make perimenopause symptoms worse.

Remember, every woman's experience with perimenopause is unique, and what works for one may not work for another. It's all about finding what suits you best and listening to your body. Don't be too hard on yourself either; a few extra kg’s here and there are a part of life. The key is to stay healthy, happy and accepting that are bodies are changing and that is OK. 


November 07, 2023 — MICHELLE SHEARER

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